Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262

Enslaved population (1850): 22,725

Percent slave: 58%

Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524

Date range: 1829-1899

Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Typesort descending Death Method
infant child infant child September 15, 1861 at the residence of Mrs Margret Willis Accident
Tom negro man Slave August 21, 1850 at H. L. Maysons in Beach island Accident
Berry Butler October 9, 1892 at J. H Lagroons[?] plantation Accident
George Mitchel June 21, 1881 at J. R Corleys Accident
Julia Hightower child November 9, 1890 at Mr Sam Marshes Place Accident
Billy November 28, 1857 at the South Carolina Rail Road Accident wagon
Callen O'Neall November 11, 1855 at Luke Havirds[?] Accident
Lidia Watson January 26, 1894 at J E Macks Accident
Dave negro man Slave March 16, 1849 at Kilcrease's Ferry Accident boat
John McManas December 4, 1883 at the Jail Accident
Elleck free boy December 13, 1866 at Johnathan Gregorys Accident
Henry negro man June 3, 1849 at the house of Mrs Mary Harrison Accident
A. R. Steel girl child August 28, 1869 at Graniteville Accident
George Low col June 6, 1869 at Sand Bar Ferry Accident stems of yellow jasmine
Lindy Jones March 15, 1882 at George Holingsworth House Accident
Sam Slave June 14, 1858 at Henry Spiers[?] Accident
Tilman Attaway April 14, 1849 at the corner of the Oharer[?] old field Accident
Solomon negro man June 24, 1844 near the Mill of George A. McKee on Stevens Creek Accident
Charley Geeter October 27, 1881 at Violets Geeter's house Accident
Peter Negro man December 30, 1859 at the Plantation of Mr Wm Bunch Accident
John Matthews October 13, 1829 at the house of William Adams Other
Martin B. Elam January 28, 1851 at Mrs Mary Elams Other
R. Mackgrath January 5, 1852 at the house of John Dobey Other
J. E. Black May 8, 1861 at the Residence of J. E. Black Other
H. P. Church December 27, 1842 in the house of C. H. Goodman in the Vilage of Edgefield Other
A. G. Leek February 23, 1859 at A. G. Leeks Residence Other
Lizzie Greeg July 4, 1884 at Capt Taliar[?] Hearin[?] Natural Causes
Bob negro September 23, 1864 in the District Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1858 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Silvy Nix January 1, 1891 Natural Causes
George W. Medlock January 1, 1848 at the house of Daniel Abby Natural Causes
Eddie Watson Infant April 25, 1892 at Bob Stevens Natural Causes
Lona May Hamilton child October 18, 1893 at or near Longmires PO[?] Natural Causes
Chaney negro woman December 11, 1855 at the dwelling house of Mrs Randall in the Town of Hamburg Natural Causes
B. C. Bryan March 16, 1884 at B C Bryan Residence Natural Causes
Milledge Stuard October 8, 1881 at Mount [??] Yard Natural Causes
Jim slave June 10, 1859 at M, L, Bonham Esqr residence on the Pine House road Natural Causes
Joe Elam February 16, 1882 at Nicholson premises Natural Causes
Sam negro, slave September 18, 1846 at the residence of Mrs Nancy Delaughter Natural Causes
Joseph Moore Jr. April 19, 1846 at the house of Dr John D. Nicholson Natural Causes
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
George Hatcher freedman June 19, 1867 at B. W. Hatchers Mill on Shaws creek Natural Causes
Dudley Roundtree August 10, 1856 at the dwelling house of the late Dudley Roundtree Natural Causes
George Robinson January 12, 1892 at the plantation of E. B. Davis Natural Causes
Martha Lanham January 29, 1892 at Wilts[?] Curryes place Natural Causes
Robert W. Kincade December 27, 1845 at the house of Baley[?] Corley Natural Causes
Simon C. Wood[?] December 26, 1857 at Wm Calelaziers[?] Natural Causes
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Edward slave, boy October 22, 1857 at the residence of Wm Miller Natural Causes
Kizziah[?] slave, servant March 11, 1860 at the residence of Mr M Lanham Natural Causes

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